The holidays are a time of celebration for many families. They are also a time for love mixed with the feelings of joy, happiness, as well as time with your family, great food, and friendships.

But the holidays can also be a time of enormous stress for families and children. Some of the biggest sources of stress during the holiday season include; lack of money, lack of sleep, irritability, excessive demands on time and intense family relationships. 8 out of 10 people surveyed recently, reported feeling stressed over the holidays. People of any age who are stressed are more likely to become physically sick (including increased risk of serious illness such as cancer), feel sad or seriously depressed, have issues with sleeping, over or under eating, can drink alcohol or consume drugs in excess, and/or possess a lack of energy.

Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress:

  • Set realistic expectations about gifts and activities; openly discuss finances and money available for the holidays.
  • Keep things in perspective; identify and focus on what is really important about the season to you and your family.
  • Make connections. Meet and celebrate with family and friends with whom you have strong and healthy relationships with. This may be a time to reconnect with friends or family you may have not seen in some time. Enjoy your time with them. You can also decided to volunteer to help others in need.
  • Take care of yourself. Accept and ask for help, if you need it. Delegate tasks to all members of the family. Try to have regular sleep, exercise, and eat healthy food as much as possible. Take more Vitamin C which helps stop the secretion of stress hormones. Take short breaks periodically (from 1 to 5 minutes). Breathe deeply and relax.
  • Learn from the Past. What has made you unhappy in years past? Avoid those things as much as possible. Avoid triggers that you have identified; this could be people, places, or things.
  • Laugh as much as possible. Laughing reduces physical signs of stress in your body, improves mood and even helps you fight off viruses.

Happy Holidays,

-Kent Youth and Family Services